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Annie and Addie: The Hoyt Sisters From Lake Mills

The young woman’s face in the old photo looked hauntingly familiar, but who was she?

It all started June 13, 2011, when I cleaned out the apartment at my late father’s assisted living facility and found a book of old photos. The most significant clue was this lone sentence on the back of a wedding photo: “Enoch and Addie Hoyt Fargo on their wedding day, 1896.”

Thanks to David Spriggs (a local historian and kind soul), I learned that Enoch  and Addie lived in Lake Mills, WI, and that Addie was my great, great Aunt.

Addie was 22 years younger than Enoch and she was his second wife. She was 24 at the time of her marriage to Enoch, and only four years older than Enoch’s eldest daughter (Elsie Fargo). This was Addie’s first marriage and it would be her last. According to two published accounts, her ever-loving husband Enoch slipped into Addie’s bedroom about 2:00 am on June 19, 1901, and put a bullet in her brain while she lay sleeping. Addie was only 29 years old when her life was taken.

The story is that Enoch had fallen in love with Martha (”Maddie”) Louise Hoyt (no relation to Addie Hoyt).

Seven months after young Addie died, Enoch married his third wife, Martha (in February 1902). It caused quite a scandal at the time. A proper period of mourning in the Victorian era was a minimum of twelve months. Remarriage during the period of mourning was unthinkable.

Maddie (wife #3) died in 1964, having outlived Enoch by 40 years. Enoch died in 1921 in Tarpon Springs, Florida. Maddie was living in California at the time of Enoch’s death. If I were married to Enoch, I also would have put 3,000 miles between me and the hubby.

My grandfather (who passed on in 1989) was a real fan of both history and genealogy, and yet no one in the Fuller clan had heard about Aunt Addie, prior to the discovery of this photo album. My 92-year-old Uncle Ed (my father’s twin brother), doesn’t remember hearing about Aunt Addie, either.

Anna Hoyt was my great-grandmother, and Anna and Addie were sistersAnna Hoyt ended up marrying Wilbur W. Whitmore and landed in Denver, Colorado. This photo album that I found amongst my father’s treasured possessions was inscribed, “A Merry Christmas, to Wilbur, from Addie.” (To see photos of Anna and Wilbur, click here.)

Anna and Addie had a baby brother, Eugene B. Hoyt (1874-1950) that never married. Anna died four months shy of her 100th birthday (1866-1966). It would seem that dear Aunt Addie died about 70 years before her time.

The Fuller clan (of which I am one) are Addie Hoyt Fargo’s closest (and perhaps only) living relatives.

Many thanks to David Spriggs (Norfolk) and Bruce A. Samoore, Volunteer Historical Researcher (Wisconsin) for discovering much of the genealogical information.

Enoch Fargo and his bride, Addie Hoyt Fargo. This is labeled as their wedding photo from 1896.

Enoch Fargo and his bride, Addie Hoyt Fargo on their wedding day in February 1896. Addie was only 24 years old, and he was 46. This was her first marriage, his second. He had two daughters, the oldest of which was four years younger than Addie. Enoch allegedly shot Addie five years after their wedding day. Addie Hoyt Fargo was my great-great Aunt.

*Addie

When I first started looking at these photos, I thought that Addie had it all. Here she was, a beautiful young woman married to an older wealthy gent. He moved her into the family home, a Victorian manse built in 1881. Hers was a life of wealth, privilege, comfort and opulence - for a time.

Close-up

Addie was a beautiful young woman (age 24 in this photo). Her new husband was 46 at the time of their marriage.

My favorite photo of all.

This is one of my favorite photos, showing Addie sitting in her bedroom. Sadly, this is the very room where she was supposedly shot in her sleep.

Addie Hoyt Enoch was my grandmothers sister. Heres a picture of Annie Hoyt Whitmore from 1910. Annie, born in 1866, would have been 44 years old in this photo. This picture hangs in my formal dining room.

Addie Hoyt Fargo and Anna Hoyt Whitmore were sisters, and Anna Hoyt Whitmore was my great-grandmother. Here's a picture of Anna Hoyt Whitmore from 1910. Anna, born in 1866, would have been 44 years old in this photo. Annie lived to be 99 years old, dying four months shy of her 100th birthday. This picture hangs in my formal dining room.

Close-up of Anna Hoyt (sister of Addie)

Close-up of Anna Hoyt (sister of Addie)

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Anna (left) was 44 in this photo. Addie (right) was 24 in this photo.

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Anna Hoyt Whitmore (Addie's sister) had three children, and this is one of them (Ernie Eugene Whitmore). Ernie (born 1888) would have been Addie's nephew, and she was 16 when he was born. This photograph was taken a few weeks before his death. He was six years old. In 1894, Anna Hoyt Whitmore buried her six-year-old son, and seven years later, her baby sister died at the age of 29.

later

This photo - from 1922 - shows Wilbur and Anna Hoyt Whitmore taking their twin grandsons out for a ride. My father is sitting with Wilbur and my Uncle Ed is sitting with his maternal grandmother, Anna Hoyt Whitmore (Addie's sister).

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twin

Anna Hoyt Whitmore (left) holds Edgar A. Fuller (Junior) and Wilbur holds Thomas (my father). This picture is about 1921. At this time, Anna Hoyt Whitmore was still living in Denver. It's incredible to think that Anna Hoyt Whitmore lived another 45 years after this photo was taken. After her husband Wilbur died in 1939, Anna moved to California.

The Fargo Mansion in 1896, soon after my Great, Great Aunt Addie moved in with her new husband, Enoch Fargo.  Enoch was 22 years older than Addie.

The Fargo Mansion in 1896, soon after my Great, Great Aunt Addie moved in with her new husband, Enoch Fargo. Enoch was 22 years older than Addie.

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Fargo Mansion in Lake Mills, Wisconsin. This photo is courtesy of Brice Anderson (copyright 2011) and can not be reproduced or used without written permission.

Adie

Addie in 1896 (left) and in 1901 (right), shortly before she died. She was 29 years old in the photo on the right. Five years with Enoch had taken its toll on dear Addie.

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Addie, the papers dutifully recorded, died within 24 hours of her "sickness."

sElise Fargo (Mccammon) at the Fargo Mansion sometime in the late 1890s. Elsie was one of three daughters born to Mary Rutherford Fargo (Wife #1) and Enoch Fargo. Elsie was the eldest, and it was Elsies daughter (Mary Mccammon Wilson) who wrote The History of Lake Mills. Its in that book that Mary Wilson states plainly, [Enoch] shot Addie! (p 341).

Elise Fargo (Mccammon) at the Fargo Mansion sometime in the late 1890s. Elsie was one of three daughters born to Mary Rutherford Fargo (Wife #1) and Enoch Fargo. Elsie was the eldest, and it was Elsie's daughter (Mary Mccammon Wilson) who wrote "The History of Lake Mills." It's in that book that Mary Wilson states plainly, "Enoch shot Addie!" (p. 275).

Maddie.

Here's Enoch's third wife, "Maddie." Published accounts state that Enoch killed Addie in her sleep so that he could marry his true love, Maddie Hoyt (shown here). The legend is that Maddie was a cousin to Addie, but this doesn't appear to be correct. Genealogical research shows that Maddie Louise Hoyt (given name "Martha") was *no* blood relation to Addie Hoyt. Maddie's mother was Marie Harbeck, who married Henry Hoyt in 1880. Maddie was born in 1873, and was listed in the 1890 census as the step-child of Henry Hoyt. Incredibly, Maddie's grandmother (Elizabeth "Betsy" Harbeck) was also a Fargo. Maddie died in 1964.

To read more about Addie Hoyt’s murder, click here.

To learn about the kit homes in Lake Mills, click here.

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  1. Sue Fuller
    July 16th, 2011 at 10:24 | #1

    Absolutely amazing! Thank you for this research.

  2. Cathy Ringer
    July 18th, 2011 at 16:02 | #2

    After staying up with you until 1:00 a.m. with suspicions of foul play dancing in our heads and conversations that could compare to being a CSI, I came home and immediately signed up to Ancestry.com. I am so fascinated about Addie and the mysterious circumstance of her death. I hope that you can give her closure and have her finally be at peace! I truly believe that you are the one person she has been waiting for all of these years to do just that!

  3. Tom Fuller
    July 18th, 2011 at 18:00 | #3

    This is a fascinating story. It reads like a novel. Perhaps another book will emerge from all this research — the ultimate “cold case”!

  4. July 19th, 2011 at 01:19 | #4

    @Cathy Ringer
    I thought it was much later than 1:00 am! Cathy, your insights were invaluable. You much be one of the most observant people I have ever known. That was fun studying those old photos, wasn’t it!?! :)

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